01/09/2014 02:13 pm ET Updated Mar 11, 2014

It's Florida Manatee Time: How to See the Gentle Giants

Florida Manatee swimming

November to March is the time to head to Florida for spectacular manatee sightings. These gentle giants head for warmer climates in the winter, much like their human snowbird counterparts. Here are our tips to having a manatee-filled getaway.

First, Learn to Spot Them

Ft. Pierce on Florida's east coast is chock-full- o'- manatees! We had heard from the locals that in the evening the manatees move from inland to the ocean, so we decided watch for them from a bridge. Our first excited sighting came when we discovered bubbles rising to the surface... See more about the area where we spotted these guys


Snorkel with Manatees at Homosassa River

The Florida Aquifer feeds the Homosassa River on the west coast and manatees are known to swim several miles up the stream to congregate near the source. We chose this area for our snorkel tour because it is usually less crowded than other places, the water is often clearer, and the added bonus of getting to see some monkeys. Yup, monkees. More on swimming with manatees...


Visit Blue Springs State Park

Blue Springs State Park in Florida - fun of manatees!

Blue Spring is a first magnitude spring, pouring forth over one hundred million gallons of water a day, and like the springs around Crystal River, the water stays a constant seventy-two degrees year round. So manatees love it, and many will swim miles up the St. Johns River to get to it. The park has extensive viewing areas... More on Blue Springs State Park

Visit the Mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs

In the crystal clear waters of Weeki Wachee Springs there reside mermaids, seriously. We wouldn't make up something like this. As a matter of FACT, the Florida State Park Service is a leader in the preservation of these exotic rare creatures. We were lucky enough to have the chance to observe their graceful antics in a natural habitat and manatees joined in the show! More on the Mermaids and Weeki Wachee Springs...

Hit the Manatee Festival

Save the Manatees!

For almost thirty years, The Orange City / Blue Springs Manatee Festival has been raising funds to preserve the manatee population. The festival is a really fun fair, with food, music, booths and comfy busses are provided to shuttle folks to manatee viewing experiences. More on the Manatee Festival...

David & Veronica,

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